9 Historical Places to Visit in East Central Ohio

Welcome to East Central Ohio, where rich rolling hills and rural towns set the perfect backdrop for taking in all this region offers. From local festivals, breathtaking natural beauty, historical landmarks, and small-town charm—exploring East Central Ohio is sure to be an experience you won’t soon forget.

What sets it apart from other nearby destinations?

For starters, the region’s nearby Amish Country’s history goes back hundreds of years. A visit to its quaint villages, covered bridges, interactive museums, and national historic sites offers a dreamy step back in time.

You’ll enjoy any one of our pet and child-friendly vacation rentals while exploring East Central Ohio’s history. For example, a stone’s throw away from the Historic Zoar Village sits The Cottage at Maple Pond — a spacious cottage and one of our most popular vacation rentals.

Read on to uncover nine historical places to see in East Central Ohio—from Zoar Village to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. With an itinerary like this, you’ll have a vacation to remember for the whole family and newfound knowledge of this fascinating area.

Let’s dive into the top 9 historical places in East Central Ohio.

1. Zoar Village

Photo Credit: historiczoarvillage
  • Address: 198 Main Street, Zoar, OH
  • Notable features: A landmark village with flower gardens, beautiful scenery, museums, and a nature park.

Wandering around Zoar Village should be on top of your East Central Ohio bucket list. This charming town with immense historical importance will take you back in time. Meander through its lush gardens, indulge in the delicious food, and learn the history that led to its inception.

About Zoar Village

Sitting in Tuscarawas County, Zoar was founded by a group of German Separatists in 1817. The German founders fled their home territory of Württemberg and came to the area, seeking religious freedom and a judgment-free place to practice their beliefs.

Once here, they bought several land plots and created a community named after the biblical city of Zoar. All the residents had to follow the core principles of hard work, shared labor, and property ownership.

Both children and adults had specific duties, which contributed to the village’s smooth, seamless operation. Tasks ranged from agricultural work to blacksmithing and carpentry.

Following the death of charismatic leader Joseph Bimeler in 1853, the town’s fervor slowly dwindled. Finally, in the late 1800s, residents voted to dissolve the community completely.

What To Do

Today, the village is a reminder of this settlement lost to time. The city restored several historic buildings, now open to visitors to peek into and admire. This stop is great for wandering around all the places where people in the past got together to work and share meals after a long day.

These are some of the points of interest around Zoar Village.

  • Zoar Village Historic District Museum, here, you can learn about the inception of the village and the founders.
  • Zoar Wetland Arboretum is an area where nature lovers can stroll through the beautiful preserve.
  • Zoar Hotel is another important landmark in the village where prominent figures from US history have stayed.

Curious about the village’s untold secrets? Consider taking a guided tour. Others can walk around at leisure for free.

2. Historic Schoenbrunn Village

Photo Credit: Schoenbrunn Village
  • Address: 1984 East High Avenue, New Philadelphia, OH
  • Notable features: Scheduled scavenger hunts for kids.

Along the edge of New Philadelphia is another historic village called Schoenbrunn. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Schoenbrunn Village offers a glimpse into the past.

Moravians Missionaries

Moravians were one of Ohio’s European settlers in Ohio, emigrating from today’s Czech Republic. Moravian missionaries established the community and named it after the grand palace of Schönbrunn in Austria in 1772.

They brought their Church traditions for a slice of home, but mainly to convert Native American Indians to Christianity. The Moravian Church was also a hub for European immigrants to sharpen their skills and trades.

Within weeks, over 300 people called Schoenbrunn home — a speedy establishment. Later, inhabitants built Ohio’s first Christian church and schoolhouse.

Then came the American Revolution, which helped dismantle the village in 1977. Before he left, Reverend Zeisberger demolished the church to prevent others from using it.

Schoenbrunn Village Today

Currently, Schoenbrunn Village is a popular tourist destination and historic site. You can explore seventeen of the landmark structures that dot the property.

The Schoenbrunn site includes reconstructed log buildings, a visitor center, museums, gardens, and the original church and mission cemetery. Despite its reconstruction, the architecture and furniture retain their 18th-century look and feel and remain a great place to explore American history.

The interactive museum is a great starting point for your tour. Lucky museum-goers may even catch live reenactments or workshops in the village.

3. Dennison Railroad Depot Museum

Photo Credit: JNix
  • Address: 400 Center Street, Dennison, OH
  • Notable features: Interactive museum with hands-on exhibits.

Are you traveling with a train-loving kid? They might not know it yet, but deep down, their love for trains has them itching for a glimpse of the bygone days of Dennison, a historic railroad town.

About The Location

The little railroad village of Dennison is nestled between Columbus and Pittsburgh, one hundred miles from both cities. Its placement was intentional since steam engines traveled exactly 100 miles before needing a change of coal, water, and crew.

Interactive Exhibits

Head to the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum to admire historical railroad memorabilia and artifacts. But that’s not all; unlike most museums, this one allows you to interact with the exhibits.

Often, the museum hosts a scavenger hunt with railway-related clues for the kiddies. At the end of the game, the kids are given a charm as a reward. In addition, the souvenir store is a great spot to pick up quirky railroad-themed items and WWII replica keepsakes.

Lunch at The Museum

Dennison Railroad Depot Museum is open year-round and has an on-site restaurant serving delicious American fare. Or, you can picnic on the platform and soak in the ambiance.

Glance over their event calendar before you visit to experience all the special events.

4. Uhrichsville Clay Museum

Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org
  • Address: 330 N Main Street, Uhrichsville, OH
  • Notable features: Folk art pieces made from clay and vintage photographs of clay miners are housed in this historic brick building.

Opened in 2008, the Uhrichsville Clay Museum is a testament to an era when the city was a world-renowned Clay Capital.

About the Uhrichsville Clay Museum

The county once boasted over 30 clay plants and manufacturers. Located in historic downtown Uhrichsville, this museum celebrates and preserves the stories of those who have contributed to the success of local businesses since 1872.

The Uhrichsville Clay Museum is a unique destination that offers visitors an inside look at the region’s rich heritage. This one-room museum provides historical facts about the area and is dedicated to showcasing and preserving the importance of Ohio’s Clay industry.

Clay is endlessly malleable, and Ohio residents used it in plenty of different ways — most commonly clay pipes. Residents could thank these clay pipes for running sewer pipes underground. But, of course, malleability also invites creativity.

What To Do There

Take a gander at the stunning clay figurines, animals, and folk art clay miners made during their downtime. Keep perusing the museum, and you’ll find vintage photographs of clay mines and plants, transferring the immense dedication and hard work from one era to the present.

As you explore interactive exhibits, educational displays, and restored artifacts, you will gain an appreciation for how our community has been shaped by industry throughout its history.

Don’t forget to stop by the on-site gift shop and pick up unique presents for friends back home.

5. MAPS Air Museum

Photo Credit: Eric Friedebach via Flickr CC 2.0
  • Address: 2260 International Parkway, North Canton, OH
  • Notable features: An interactive museum with a vast collection centered around military flight history.

Did you know Ohio is known as the birthplace of aviation? This state is where Orville and Wilbur Wright, famously known as the Wright Brothers, invented the first-ever airplane. To pay homage to Ohio’s aviation heritage, visit the MAPS Air Museum (Military Aviation Preservation Society) in North Canton.

About the MAPS Air Museum

This “under the radar” museum houses a collection of over 50 historic aircraft and aviation-related artifacts, including military and civilian planes, engines, and equipment.

Visitors can also see the pioneer airships and bombers from historical events like both World Wars and the Vietnam War.

What To Do There

The museum’s indoor hangar features miniatures, famous blimps, and over a dozen aircraft, while the outdoor exhibit has interceptors, bombers, and even helicopters.

Besides spectacular flying machines, you can check out fascinating uniforms, aviation-related newspaper clippings, and original art in the Gallery of Heroes. It’s an eye-opening exhibit that shares the stories of military veterans.

Visitors can also sit inside a legendary Russian fighter or feel the anti-aircraft gun from World War II.

Are any extreme aviation fans in the house? You can easily spend a whole day here. Otherwise, a casual visit shouldn’t last longer than two hours.

6. McKinley Presidential Library & Museum

Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org
  • Address: 800 Mc Kinley Monument Drive NW, Canton, OH
  • Notable features: Animatronic models of the former President and First Lady and dinosaur fossils on display.

Your visit to East Central Ohio’s historical places isn’t complete without a trip to The McKinley Presidential Library and Museum.

About The McKinley Presidential Library & Museum

Superstitious travelers might feel weary about these grounds — this museum was built on the late President McKinley’s grave. Located in Canton, the museum serves as a research library and museum dedicated to William McKinley’s life and presidency.

This fascinating museum offers an interactive history lesson about President McKinley and his lasting impact on American politics and legislation. The Museum also houses the Hoover Price Planetarium and Discover World Science Center.

What To Do There

Talk about educational engagement! Tour the Ramsayer Research library, visit the onsite planetarium, or stroke your inner nerd by immersing yourself in animal fossils, including the extinct Mastodon and Allosaurus.

Finally, end the visit with a gander through the world’s celestial bodies and earthly wonders.

Note: The McKinley National Monument’s interior is closed from November 1, 2022, to April 1, 2023, but The McKinley Presidential Library and Museum remain accessible from Tuesday through Saturday during this season.

7. Pro Football Hall of Fame

Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org
  • Address: 2121 George Halas Drive NW, Canton, OH
  • Notable features: NFL memorabilia, interactive exhibits, and a high-tech holographic theater are highlights.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is an excellent destination for any sports enthusiast or those who just want to learn more about America’s favorite pastime.

About The Pro Football Hall of Fame

This homage to football is one of the most beloved and cherished institutions in sports. Football fans travel around the world to explore this sports-themed museum in Canton.

It commemorates some of the most outstanding individuals to set foot on a football field. As fans walk through its doors, they experience something truly magical: a recognition for those who have dedicated their lives to playing and loving the game of professional football.

What To Do There

Expect to see life-size statues of famous NFL players, a room full of busts, vintage uniforms, helmets, and several other constantly changing smaller exhibits.

The Hall of Fame Gallery is the museum’s highlight! An expansive room filled with golden busts of famous athletes. If you arrive early, you’ll have this photogenic gallery all to yourself.

Buy a ticket online in advance to avoid last-minute disappointment.

8. The Warther Museum

Photo Credit: Raymond D. Woods, Jr. via Flickr CC2.0
  • Address: 331 Karl Avenue, Dover, OH
  • Notable features: Elaborate artworks and steam engines created by Ernest “Mooney” Warther are on display.

Get ready to be blown away by the intricate skills and creativity of Ernest “Mooney” Warther at The Warther Museum. Born in 1885, he was a self-taught carver who became famous for his detailed carvings of trains and other one-of-a-kind knick-knacks from wood and ivory.

About The Warther Museum

Son of Swiss immigrants, Ernest Warther, found his calling at the young age of five. He began carving simple things with a mere pocketknife and later moved on to complicated items like sculpting steam engines. In his 82 years, he hand sculpted sixty unique pieces, giving him the well-earned title of World’s Master Carver.

The museum showcases more than a hundred artworks and other additional artifacts and displays surrounding his life, skills, and rise to fame. Owned and run by family members of Warther, the museum will leave you awe-inspired and bursting with creativity.

What To Do There

Tour the property to see how Mooney and his family lived in 1910. In addition, there are several themed spaces throughout the property.

The Button House uses over 73,000 buttons to display beautiful geometric and quilt-patterned art. Tours are also available for Warther’s workshop. Finally, the Dave Warther Arboretum, home to a 20th-century steam engine, is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

It is recommended to buy tickets online in advance.

9. Reeves Victorian Home and Carriage House Museum

Photo Credit: doverhistory.org
  • Address: 325 E Iron Ave, Dover, OH
  • Notable features: Murder Mystery Night & Jeeves’ Jammie Jam Sleepover are special events held annually at the museum

If you’re a fan of Victorian-era architecture, the Reeves Victorian Home and Carriage House Museum in Dover is one place that should definitely be on your travel list. The museum aims to preserve the Victorian era’s priceless history and architecture.

About the Reeve’s Museum

Located in a stunning 19th-century historic house from Dover, the museum houses authentic Victorian artifacts, decor, and furniture. Think of it like a visual diary and time machine to the 19th century.

The home has around 20 preserved rooms, transporting you to a simpler time. Dormers, bays, turrets, and classical columns enhance its pristine white exterior. The front of the property displays a large turreted carriage house with a fairytale-like appearance.

What To Do There

Take a guided property tour and hear stories about the home and museum. Then, step into the main house from 1899 and explore its grandeur — plush oriental rugs atop hardwood floors; an undisturbed trove of antiques presides over every room.

Out back, pause for a few moments on your way up to inspect the restored carriage house—it’s like opening the door to another era.

Visit East Central Ohio

Add an engaging layer of history to your vacation, be it through old aircraft, dinosaur fossils, or reenactments of Amish village life.

Make the most of your visit to East Central Ohio by finding the perfect place to stay. Look no further than one of our comfortable, spacious vacation rentals to call home while you’re touring this historic area.

Book your next vacation with us today — you’ll leave well-rested and with a deeper understanding of East Central Ohio’s rich history.

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